Dissident republicans are cowards who have been exploiting vulnerable teenagers into causing six nights of violence in Londonderry, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland has said.
The dissident republican groups who mounted what police are calling three separate attempts to murder PSNI officers in Derry have been described as “pitiless, heartless cowards” by the head of the body that represents the rank and file.
PFNI chair Mark Lindsay has called for a community offensive to take back the streets.
Mr Lindsay said: “Six shots from an automatic weapon followed by a total of four viable devices aimed at officers, show how there is a planned, viscous and orchestrated plan by terrorists whose sole aim is to murder the people I represent.”
The Police Federation has blamed dissident groups for the unrest, who they say persuade children, some no older than 12, to fire petrol bombs, bricks and bottles at police, and once the police engage, bombers and gunmen take control.
Mr Lindsay added: “This is child abuse. Young, vulnerable kids are encouraged to riot and cause mayhem so that the bomber and gunman can gain a better vantage position. It is sickening.
“Many in the Bogside have voted with their feet to reject these mindless thugs, and I applaud their actions.
“There must be an all-out community offensive to rid this particular community, and others, of the scourge of paramilitarism.”